Texas Gov. Rick Perry, center, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, right, and House Speaker Joe Straus, left, discuss the 82nd Legislature in the Governor's Reception Room at the Texas State Capitol on Jan. 12.
Gov. Rick Perry met Wednesday with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus to discuss priorities for the 82nd Legislative Session, primarily their commitment to balancing the state budget using the shared guiding principles of not raising taxes on Texas families and businesses; working with the available revenue; and evaluating all programs and agencies as state leaders scrub the budget.
"Texans understand the realities of these tight budgetary times, and just like Texas families and employers have been doing, we will tighten our belts in order to balance the budget," Gov. Perry said. "In the end, we intend to give the people what they want and deserve: a fiscally responsible government, which will lead to more jobs, greater freedom, and continued security in their communities and homes."
Balancing the budget while strengthening Texas' job-friendly climateÃ¯Â¿Â½ - based on low taxes, predictable regulations, a fair legal system and world-class workforce - is a top priority for the governor and vital to the future of the state. In order to ensure state agencies continue to use taxpayer dollars prudently, the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker have already directed state agencies to identify savings of 5 percent in the 2010-2011 biennium, an additional 2.5 percent for the 2011 fiscal year, and 10 percent for the 2012-2013 biennium.
"Governor Perry, Speaker Straus and I all share the same goals: keep our economy growing, create jobs, and balance the budget without raising taxes or eliminating any truly essential services," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said. "Contrary to taking an across-the-board approach, the House and Senate will continue to work through the budget program-by-program to identify savings and determine our funding priorities with the revenue we have available."
"Texans expect us to hold the line on taxes, cut spending and live within our means," Speaker Straus said. "Many steps will be required to maintain fiscal discipline and balance our budget, which will encourage job creation and economic growth."
On Tuesday, Gov. Perry also announced emergency items for the 82nd Legislative Session, which include protecting private property rights/addressing eminent domain issues, and abolishing sanctuary cities in Texas. This emergency designation allows lawmakers to begin considering these issues during the initial 30 days of the session.